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The Very Real Chances of Suffering Serious Illness

  • Publish Date : 2011/04/11 - (Rev. 2014/03/15)
  • Author : Drewberry Insurance


It is vital to eat healthily and exercise regularly in order to reduce the chances of illness.

Main Document

Drewberry Insurance has compiled data reported by various health charities on the chances of suffering illness. It is important to be aware of these risks and to take precautionary steps to avoid sickness and to protect income in the event of incapacity.

However much we would like to believe that 'it won't happen to me' the statistics are always stacked against us in the long-run. It is an unfortunate reality that every year in the UK over half a million people suffer either cancer, heart attack or stroke.

Tom Conner, head of protection at Drewberry Income Protection, says, "It is vital not only to eat healthily and exercise regularly in order to reduce the chances of illness but it is also important to put in place financial protection in case illness does arise, with income protection insurance often being the first port of call."

Illness Incidence Research from Leading UK Charities:


  • Both Macmillan and Cancer Research UK report that there are over 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment;
  • Cancer Research UK reports that there are approximately 298,000 people diagnosed with cancer each year, which equates to nearly 1 case for every 200 people in the UK.

Heart Attack

  • The British Heart Foundation (BHF) report that there are around 124,000 heart attacks each year and around 1.5 million people living in the UK who have had a heart attack;
  • The BHF also state that there are nearly 2.7 million people living with heart disease and the UK spends approximately 3.2 billion pounds Sterling each year on healthcare costs for heart disease.


  • The Stroke Association report every year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke, with about a third likely to be left disabled and needing rehabilitation;
  • It is argued that suffering a stroke has a greater disability impact than any other medical condition, with around 250,000 people living with long-term disability as a result of strokes.

Mental Illness

  • Both the Mind and Rethink charities report that one in four people are likely to experience a mental health problem every year;
  • The Department for Work and Pensions report there have been over 340,000 applications for state Employment and Support Allowance due to mental and behavioral disorders.

Ties to Income Protection Insurance Claims

Income protection plans payout a monthly benefit to replace lost earnings should the policyholder have to cease working due to illness or injury. These policies can continue to payout right up until planned retirement if the policyholder is unable to return to work and represents the most comprehensive form of illness and injury insurance available.

According to Drewberry Insurance research across several leading income protection insurers the largest cause for claims arose from mental disorders (stress, anxiety and depression, representing around 30 per cent of claims), followed by muscular-skeletal disorders (such as for back, neck and joint conditions, representing around 20 per cent of claims).

The next highest causes for claims were for cancer, circulatory system disorders (such as for heart attack and stroke) and nervous system disorders (multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, for example). Each of these medical conditions represents around 10 per cent of total claims.

Given the sheer volume of new serious illness and injury cases each year, income protection insurance is an ideal policy to alleviate the potential financial consequences of incapacity, thus protecting household finances at a time when the focus needs to be on recovery.

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